Ten Ten's Chilled Tofu
At Ten Ten (413 Second Avenue, 212-951-7119), Josh Eden's new 24-seat Kips Bay eatery, you'll find dumplings and buns as well as a selection of larger dishes that span Asia's culinary range. One of the best, though, is the chilled tofu appetizer.
Running a quasi-upscale Asian takeout restaurant is actually a no-brainer for chef Josh Eden. After all, his restaurant Shorty's.32 had a late-night dim sum menu. Plus Eden helmed Far Eastern eateries Xing and 66, so the man knows his Asian snacks. Indeed, the lightly fried shrimp and pork potstickers ($8) were great (the pork belly buns and longevity noodles were slightly less successful), but on a recent visit to Ten Ten it was the chilled tofu appetizer ($8) that stood out from the pack.
Nodding to Japan, cubes of silken tofu, sliced shiitake mushrooms, crunchy pickles, and watercress leaves mix in a light, sesame oil-based dressing. It's cooling and just salty enough, with a great earthiness to the mushrooms (which might have been swapped in for beans, which were listed on the chalkboard menu).
Instead of serving food on plates, the restaurant uses biodegradable takeout containers, which are a pain when sharing. But this is one dish that you won't want to share.
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